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Guelph City Guide

Updated: February 16th, 2024

Dreaming of finding a new home city that seamlessly blends urban vivacity with small-town warmth? Then look no further than Guelph, Ontario. Affectionately nicknamed "The Royal City," Guelph enchants with its picturesque downtown, brimming with cultural gems, bustling cafes, and charming shops.

Step beyond the city center and discover rolling hills, lush parks, and winding trails that offer a welcome escape into nature's embrace. Whether you're drawn to Guelph's thriving arts scene, proximity to major cities like Toronto, or family-friendly atmosphere, this hidden gem offers a unique recipe for a fulfilling life. Dive deeper and discover why this captivating city might be your perfect dream come true once you move to Canada!

About Guelph

Learn More About Guelph | Guelph City Guide

A Land of Indigenous Peoples

For thousands of years, Guelph was home to diverse Indigenous communities who shaped the land and thrived in harmony with nature. Neutral People, an Algonquian-speaking group, primarily inhabited the north shore of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Their territory likely encompassed parts of southern Ontario, including the Guelph region. They were known for their skilled fishing, hunting, and trading practices.

The Mississaugas, an Ojibwe group, had strong ties to the Toronto area and likely had connections and hunting grounds in the Guelph region. They were skilled traders and played a crucial role in early interactions with Europeans.

The Arrival of Europeans

The arrival of Europeans in the Guelph region marked a turning point in its history, dramatically changing the landscape and lives of its Indigenous inhabitants. French explorers reached the area in the 17th century, primarily interested in the fur trade. Their interactions with Indigenous communities were limited.

The Treaty of Niagara (1764) aimed to establish peace after Pontiac's War but ultimately ceded vast territories to the British Crown, including the Guelph region. The Mississauga Purchase (1805) treaty further reduced Indigenous landholdings, paving the way for European settlement in the Guelph area.

In 1821, John Galt, a Scottish entrepreneur, purchased land and established the town of Guelph, named after the Royal Family of Hanover. European settlers from Scotland and Ireland arrived in waves, attracted by the promise of land and opportunity.

Modern-day Guelph

Today, Guelph is a vibrant city with a dynamic population of over 144,000, proudly wearing its history while embracing modern advancements. In contemporary Guelph, city life flourishes with a thriving downtown boasting bustling shops, diverse restaurants, and lively cafes, all contributing to a pedestrian-friendly core. It serves as an arts and culture hub with museums, galleries, theaters, and a renowned music scene, weaving a rich cultural tapestry.

Recognized as a sustainability champion, Guelph boasts green spaces, bike lanes, and a solid commitment to eco-friendly initiatives, earning it the esteemed "Tree City." Its diversified economy, anchored by strong sectors in manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and technology, offers a myriad of employment opportunities, while research institutions and startups foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the city's innovation hub.

With easy access to major cities like Toronto and Hamilton, Guelph expands job options and cultural experiences. However, challenges such as rising housing costs and the need for further expansion of public transit to accommodate population growth persist.

Ongoing efforts also aim to mend past injustices and build respectful relationships with Indigenous communities, reflecting Guelph's commitment to inclusivity and progress.

Where is Guelph on the Map?

Located in southwestern Ontario, Guelph enjoys easy access to major cities like Toronto (75 km away) and Hamilton (40 km away) via highways and public transportation. This proximity offers diverse work and entertainment options while maintaining a distinct Guelph character. Guelph sits right at the intersection of Highways 401 and 6, major arteries connecting it to eastern and western Canada, making road trips and commutes a breeze.

Guelph forms part of the dynamic Golden Horseshoe region, encompassing bustling centers like Kitchener-Waterloo and Niagara Falls. This translates to convenient access to diverse employment opportunities, academic institutions, and world-class attractions, all within an easily manageable distance.

Also situated near the Grand River and surrounded by rolling farmland, the city provides a taste of rural charm while never being far from nature's embrace. Hike through lush forests, paddle down the Grand River, or explore the breathtaking Royal Botanical Gardens – all within mere minutes from the city center.

Climate/Weather in Guelph

Before you move to Canada and settle in Guelph, ensure you know the city's weather patterns and climate. Guelph's climate dances to the rhythm of four distinct seasons, each offering a unique charm and diverse outdoor experiences. Here's a deeper dive into what awaits.


Bask in the warmth of Canadian summers, with average highs hovering around 26°C (79°F). Pack your sunscreen and sandals, as sunny days and balmy nights are perfect for exploring outdoor patios, enjoying refreshing dips in the nearby lakes, or picnicking in Guelph's numerous parks. Be prepared for occasional heat waves and humidity spikes, though.


Witness nature's vibrant transformation as leaves blazes with fiery red, orange, and yellow hues. Average temperatures dip comfortably, creating ideal conditions for apple picking, hiking through colorful trails, or cozy evenings spent sipping hot apple cider at local cafes. Don't forget your light jacket, as chilly mornings and evenings become more frequent.


Embrace the winter wonderland! Guelph gets its fair share of snowfall, averaging around 120 cm (47 inches) annually. The city transforms into a winter playground while temperatures drop, with lows around -8 °C (18°F). Lace up your ice skates for outdoor rinks, build snowmen, or cuddle by a warm fireplace while enjoying the festive spirit. Remember, proper winter gear is essential.


Welcome the gentle renewal of life! As average temperatures rise again, reaching around ten °C (50°F), nature awakens with blooming flowers and chirping birds. Enjoy the refreshing air on nature walks, witness vibrant displays of tulips at the Royal Botanical Gardens, or bike along scenic trails as the city bursts back into life. Be prepared for unpredictable spring showers, though.

Beyond Averages

While averages paint a general picture, remember that weather can be unpredictable. Guelph experiences occasional fluctuations, bringing hotter summers, colder winters, and the occasional surprise snowfall in spring or fall. Stay updated on local weather forecasts to ensure you're prepared for any adventure.

The city's diverse climate encourages residents to embrace each season's unique offerings. From summer festivals to winter ice skating and spring blossoms to vibrant fall foliage, there's always something to enjoy outdoors. So, pack your gear for all seasons and prepare to experience the full spectrum of Guelph's climatic charm!

Work and Jobs in Guelph

Guelph's diverse economy offers a thriving job market across various sectors, making it an attractive destination for professionals and career starters.

Sectors that Need Foreign Workers


From automotive parts to food processing, Guelph's strong manufacturing sector offers stable job opportunities with renowned companies like Linamar and Maple Leaf Foods.


Whether you're a medical professional, researcher, or administrator, Guelph's growing healthcare sector, anchored by Guelph General Hospital and numerous research institutions, presents diverse prospects.

Agriculture and Agri-Tech

As a significant agricultural hub, Guelph offers jobs in farming, food production, and innovative agri-tech companies, attracting talent focused on sustainable food systems.


Guelph is also steadily becoming a tech hub, with startups and established companies like OpenText fueling growth. Diverse opportunities await in software development, data analysis, and cyber security.


With its commitment to green initiatives, Guelph attracts companies and initiatives focused on renewable energy, environmental consulting, and sustainable development, offering exciting opportunities for environmentally conscious professionals.

In-demand Jobs in Guelph

In-Demand Jobs in Guelph NOC Code Average Annual Salary (CAD)
Software Developer NOC 21232 141,017 CAD
Registered Nurse NOC 31301 73,185 CAD
Data Analyst NOC 21223 91,173 CAD
Elementary School Teacher NOC 41221 48,750 CAD
Electrician NOC 72200 69,145 CAD
Marketing Manager NOC 10022 80,000 CAD
Civil Engineer NOC 21300 112,513 CAD
Web Developer NOC 21234 74,396 CAD
Plumber NOC 72300 63,375 CAD
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) NOC 32101 58,986 CAD

Learn more about in-demand jobs in Canada.

Cost of Living Guelph

While many Canadian cities boast hefty price tags, Guelph, Ontario, offers a refreshing alternative. Sure, housing costs are on the rise, but compared to major hubs like Toronto and Vancouver, they remain significantly lower. But the cost of living isn't just about housing. It's about groceries, transportation, utilities, and all the extras that make life enjoyable. Here's what the basics will cost you in Guelph, according to Numbeo.

Living Cost Guelph Toronto
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 20.00 CAD 24.00 CAD
Milk (regular), (1 liter) 2.45 CAD 4.09 CAD
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) 3.22 CAD 3.78 CAD
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) 85.00 CAD 156.00 CAD
Gasoline (1 liter) 1.53 CAD 1.62 CAD
Basic Utilities for 85m2 Apartment 207.50 CAD 199.68 CAD
Internet 80.55 CAD 74.73 CAD
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 1,997.78 CAD 2,568.79 CAD
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 1,975.00 CAD 2,261.82 CAD

Neighborhoods in Guelph

Live in Guelph | Guelph City Guide

Downtown Guelph

Downtown Guelph will immerse you in the heart of the city's action. Bustling cafes, trendy shops, and lively nightlife paint the picture of vibrant urban living. Pedestrian-friendly streets and cultural gems like the Sleeman Centre will make you excited to explore the area. This neighborhood is perfect for young professionals and urban enthusiasts who thrive on the constant buzz.

Old City

If you love embracing the charm of yesteryear, this established neighborhood is for you. Spacious lots, mature trees, and a strong community spirit create a family-friendly haven. Excellent schools and parks like Exhibition Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens offer endless fun for all ages. When you move to this part of Guelph, you'll get to enjoy the convenience of being close to downtown while savoring a quieter pace of life.

Waverley Park

Waverly Park is ideal for fitness fanatics and outdoor lovers. So, if this is you, lace up your sneakers and get ready to live your active life to the fullest! This neighborhood exudes an energetic vibe with numerous parks like Waverley Park and Edinburgh Park, perfect for picnics, games, and walks. Extensive biking and walking trails connect you to nature, while the Grand River adds a touch of tranquility..

The Ward

The Ward is another historic gem that allows you to step back in time. Restored Victorian houses and a unique character transport you to another era. Stroll through charming streets, delve into rich history at local museums, and enjoy the annual Hillside Festival. This neighborhood is perfect for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts seeking a unique slice of Guelph's past.

St. Patrick's Ward

St Patrick's new up-and-coming neighborhood buzzes with a youthful energy. You'll find diverse housing options catering to young families and professionals here. You can explore local businesses, enjoy family-friendly parks and trails, and experience the evolving character of this dynamic district. The neighborhood is Ideal for those seeking a modern vibe and a neighborhood on the rise.


Whether you're a car enthusiast, a cycling advocate, or a public transit champion, Guelph has a transportation option that matches your style and needs.

Public Transit

The city's efficient bus system covers extensive routes across Guelph, connecting neighborhoods, major attractions, and the University of Guelph. Affordable fares and frequent schedules make it a convenient and budget-friendly choice.

For journeys beyond Guelph, hop on GO Transit, connecting you to major cities like Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton. Reliable and comfortable, GO Transit offers a convenient option for regional travel.


Guelph's commitment to cycling infrastructure shines through its extensive bike lanes, paths, and trails network. Explore the city, connect with nature, and enjoy a healthy commute all on two wheels.

Once you move to Guelph, you can utilize the Guelph Bike Share program for short trips, errands, or spontaneous explorations. You must pick up a bike at various stations and drop it off at another location for a flexible and affordable cycling experience.

The city has dedicated lanes, traffic calming measures, and a cycling-friendly culture to enhance safety and comfort for cyclists of all levels.


Getting around by car is easy in Guelph. Major highways like Highways 401 and 6 seamlessly connect Guelph to surrounding areas, offering easy access to Toronto, London, and beyond.

Parking can be tricky, though. It is, therefore, a good idea to use on-street parking options, public parking garages, or alternative modes of transportation for downtown journeys to manage parking costs. Ridesharing apps and carpooling platforms offer convenient and flexible alternatives for occasional car use.

Things to Do in Guelph

Guelph is a hub for arts and culture, offering numerous museums, art galleries, and theatrical performances. History buffs can explore the Guelph Civic Museum or the historic downtown core. Nature lovers can enjoy hiking and biking trails, exploring the Royal Botanical Gardens, or canoeing down the Speed River. Foodies will delight in the diverse culinary scene, from cozy cafes to award-winning restaurants.

Education in Guelph

Guelph offers an enriching educational experience for learners of all ages. Renowned universities like the University of Guelph and Guelph-Humber College attract students with diverse academic aspirations, while robust public and private schools cater to every stage of childhood and adolescence. From early learning centers to adult education programs, Guelph fosters a lifelong love of learning. This thriving community fosters not only academic excellence but also personal growth through vibrant student life and a commitment to sustainability, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a well-rounded educational journey.

Early Childhood Education in Guelph

From daycare centers with flexible schedules and play-based learning to Montessori schools fostering independence and exploration, Guelph provides a diverse tapestry of early childhood education options. Preschool programs prepare children for kindergarten with academics, social interactions, and engaging themes, while specialized programs cater to individual needs. This commitment to nurturing young learners ensures they have a strong foundation for future success, shaping bright minds from the very beginning.

Public and Private Schools:

When it comes to Elementary and Secondary education in Guelph, both the Upper Grand District School Board and the Wellington Catholic District School Board. They offer a strong public education system with diverse programming, including specialized arts, French immersion, and alternative education options. Numerous private schools also provide alternative educational philosophies and smaller class sizes.


University of Guelph

This renowned research university offers over 100 undergraduate majors across diverse fields like sciences, arts, business, agriculture, and veterinary sciences. With a strong focus on experiential learning and research, it attracts students seeking a top-ranked academic experience. International students find a welcoming environment with dedicated support services.

Guelph-Humber College

This unique institution offers applied undergraduate programs and diplomas, combining university-level academics with real-world industry experience through co-op placements. Popular programs include business, hospitality, media, and healthcare, preparing students for immediate career success.

Learn more about the Canadian Education System.

Immigrate to Guelph

Move to Guelph | Guelph City Guide


Guelph's vibrant community thrives on the contributions of newcomers, and the Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP) plays a crucial role in making this dream a reality. Tailored to Ontario's diverse economic needs and labor market demands, OINP nominates qualified candidates for permanent residency, paving the way for them to build their lives and careers in this beautiful city. OINP offers various streams catering to specific skills and experiences, ensuring a perfect fit for diverse aspirations:

The Human Capital Priorities Stream

Are you a skilled professional with experience in high-demand occupations like technology, engineering, or healthcare? This stream welcomes your expertise, contributing to Ontario's economic growth and innovation.

The Skilled Trades Stream

Have you honed skills in a valuable trade like carpentry, plumbing, or electrician? If you've gained experience in Ontario, this stream recognizes your contributions and paves your way to permanent residency.

The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

Do you speak French fluently and possess valuable skills? This stream values your bilingualism and opens doors to building your life in the French-speaking communities of Ontario.

Express Entry

Canada's primary federal immigration pathway in Canada, known as the Express Entry System, provides a merit-based route to obtaining Canadian permanent residency. This system allows applicants to apply to three distinct programs:

Eligibility for Express Entry to Canada hinges on a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, considering age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability factors. A high CRS score enables entry into the Express Entry pool, where your profile becomes visible to provinces actively seeking skilled immigrants. Discover strategies to enhance your CRS Score and improve your chances of success.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Affordable compared to major cities Colder winters compared to other parts of Canada
Strong economy with diverse job opportunities Housing costs are increasing
Vibrant arts and culture scene Limited public transportation outside the downtown core
Abundant green spaces and outdoor activities Limited Nightlife compared to larger cities
Close proximity to Toronto and Hamilton Job options might be more limited compared to broader economic hubs


Is Guelph a Safe CIty?

Statistics support Guelph's reputation as a safe city. According to Statistics Canada, in 2022, the city's Crime Severity Index (CSI) was 60.6, lower than the national average of 68.3. This translates to fewer reported crimes per capita than many other Canadian cities. Learn more about safety levels in Canada.

What Are the Language Requirements For Immigrating to Guelph?

You must demonstrate language proficiency in English or French to meet minimum immigration requirements. While Guelph doesn't impose specific language requirements for immigration, the Canadian federal government mandates them for anyone seeking permanent residency.

You must take a designated language test and achieve the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) score required for your immigration program. Accepted tests include IELTS, CELPIP, TEF, and TCF.

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